Seventeen years ago, a 94 pound loggerhead (lovingly) named Stinky made his way to the South Carolina Aquarium. Weak, dehydrated, and near death, Stinky received care in the basement of the aquarium. Unprepared for this particular incident, the aquarium decided it needed to invest in a center for sea turtle care.
The early years of the center saw a hospital that was far from perfect, but run with love. Eventually large tanks would replace the kiddie pools that had been used to house sick or wounded turtles. The number of volunteers grew, which allowed the hospital staff to focus on rescue, rehabilitation, and release.
Now, 17 years after Stinky and 200 other turtles were saved by S.C. Aquarium staff, the Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery will open on May 27, equipped with everything necessary to properly care for these gentle underwater beasts.
The new recovery center will have updated tanks which can house turtles up to 300 pounds, as well as an "endless pool" and a current that will provide exercise and therapy for the turtles; a new medical facility will have a CT scanner and a modern operating room; a 40-seat classroom and theater will hold daily programs and videos that track a turtle's journey from rescue to rehabilitation; the new McNair Center will serve as the aquarium's in-house research facility.
To date, the South Carolina Aquarium has successfully rehabilitated and released 221 sea turtles and is currently treating 17 patients. With this Recovery Center, we're sure many more Stinkys will find a temporary home before journeying back to the great blue sea.